God’s Heartbeat

Missions is God’s Heartbeat

I’ve heard people talk about the Biblical basis of missions. But I think it’s more accurately stated as the missional basis of the Bible.

It’s so easy to assume that missions is a New Testament idea. But it’s not. It’s been God’s heart since the very beginning. His passion for the nations is evident throughout the entirety of the Bible.

I know many often struggle to reconcile the God of judgment and wrath in the Old Testament with the one of mercy and grace in the New. But if we look closely enough, we can see His heartbeat as a thread all throughout.

It’s so evident in the Bible stories we learned in Sunday School, but amid the flannelgraphs and illustrated kids’ Bibles, we may have missed it.

Way back in Genesis, God promised Abraham overwhelming blessings. Not so Abraham could live an abundant, selfish life. But so that “all people on earth will be blessed” through him. All people.

The story of Noah and the ark shows us more than God’s wrath on the sinful world and the rescue of every kind of animal. It reveals God’s mercy, compassion, and love for the nations of the earth. The promise set forth in the rainbow was God’s covenant with all of mankind—not just Noah’s family. Not just the people of Israel. Not just the Body of Christ. God’s covenant of grace was “a covenant for all generations to come.” All generations.

What was the whole point of David and Goliath? Little beats big? God on your side is the majority? We can do all things through God’s strength? All of those things and more. Ultimately, it reveals God’s heart. David conquered Goliath so “the whole world will know that there is a God.” The whole world.

Then there was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three young Israelites in the fiery furnace. In the end, King Nebuchadnezzar decreed that the people of “every nation” will know that “no other god can save.” Every nation.

Not only did the Lord spare Daniel’s life in the lion’s den, but “all the peoples, nations, and men of every language” heard about it. The king issued a decree that basically said, “There is no God like Daniel’s!” Every language.

Even in the Psalms we can read of God’s heart for the lost. “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” David’s prayer was “Bless us, Lord, so that all nations may come to know You!” There are so many other passages like that strewn throughout the Psalms. All nations.

As you read the Bible this week, look at everything through the missions lens. You’ll see things you never noticed before. And you’ll discover the heart of God in a whole new way.

God’s ultimate plan is for all nations to know Him.  As Christians, as God-followers, we are called to be a part of His plan.

All of us.


Alece Ronzino moved to Africa at 19 and pioneered Thrive Africa, a ministry focused on training indigenous leaders in the poorest region of South Africa. Her journey of faith is a mix of grit and glory. Mostly grit.

Visit her blogFollow her on TwitterLearn more about Thrive Africa


54 thoughts on “God’s Heartbeat

  1. Excellant blog. when I was in college my Nav staff leader said God’s heart beats people, people, people, should ours do no less? God wants all to come to salvation and desires none to perish but God has also given man free will to choose. Unfortunately not all will choose and that is where the wrath of God comes in because God is Holy.

  2. beautifully put. i love the way god captures that heartbeat throughout the bible and the way He lets us live that out and experience it firsthand is such a gift…

  3. Love seeing what you see and knowing God as you know him! I seriously love listening to your heart as knowing life as missions and not what you do as a job.

    I love watching how Jesus redefined life as missions. So glad he did. Where would be?

    Mo’z, you are so great at illustrating what God had in mind for loving people. you love well and you definitely make him know by just being you. so grateful for you.

    • felt like i was unearthing a buried piece of my heart with this post… i know you get that with/for me, and that makes me so grateful.

      i love you, tre.

      • Alece ~ this post literally had me jumping up and down in my seat when I first read it in the email. 🙂 I am so thankful you allowed me to share it with others.

      • hearing the incredible timing of it all, right after that bible study you had, seemed so confirming and validating. thank you for the privilege of sharing on your site today, friend. such an honor.

  4. But so that “all people on earth will be blessed” through him. All people.

    These words come alive to me again as I sit here in my apartment in S. Korea. Thanks for the reminder that it is me as part of GOD’S plan, not my plan for God.

  5. “for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” habakkuk 2:14

    i think about the waters and seas and oceans of our world — and water has a way of leveling. it can’t be piled up in one place, but it flows to where there is none. apparently the knowledge of the glory of the Lord is to do the same.

    * also interesting to note that it’s the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the Lord with which the earth will be filled. that’s because the earth is already filled with his glory. our task is to spread awareness of that fact.

    (i think i’ll write a post about this tomorrow…)

    • James ~ Great side note! Habakkuk 2:14 is actually one of my favorite scriptures that I memorized a long time ago. I will definitely check out your post! Thank you for stopping by!

    • i always love hearing your thoughts, james! “it flows to where there is none…” WOW. such a powerful idea. i’mma be thinking through that all day and how it ties all this together…

      are you on twitter?

  6. Alece-
    YES! yes. yes.
    You put what I feel about the Bible, and Jesus, and missions. I tend to dislike the term “missions” because it can raise up all these thoughts and feelings in people like, “But, I’m not called to that.” Making it an excuse. Oh, how I wish more Christ followers, EVERY Christ follower, knew that we are called. Called to bring This light, His light to all.

    • bekah-boo! i totally agree. we are so apt as people to compartmentalize everything. and missions becomes just something we go do… or that just some of us go do. if we truly grasped that it’s the heartbeat of God to show His glory and goodness and salvation to all peoples of the earth, how things would change.

  7. I love this thought Alece! I’m not sure I had looked at the Old Testament that way before. Sure brings the loving heart of God to light amongst all the wrath and smighting. I’m glad you took time to finish this post 😉 love you!

  8. Great post. I always thought that missions was mostly in the New Testament rather than the old. I am assuming that we were being typical humans and did not pay much attention to God’s mission mindedness in the Old Testament so He had to spell it out for us in the New Testament so we would not miss it!
    Thanks for pointing this out to me.

  9. I heard this for the first time about a week ago when my pastor talked about the comparison between God’s heart for Ninevah through Jonah and God’s heart for the rest of the world through Christ. But I love all the examples that you gave. It is clear that God’s heart is for all people.

    I pray that I remember that in my life and not just on “mission trips.” God wants the whole world, not just those that are easy to love or feel compassion for.

    • Hannah ~ A week ago my Bible study was talking about the same thing and then after the study I read an email from Alece with this post in it! Thank you for stopping by and joining in the conversation here!

    • “not just those that are easy to love”… which means my most challenging (and vital) mission field is gonna be in my day-to-day life…

      i love your big heart for people, hannah.

  10. Thanks for this fantastic post about God’s heart for missions. I love it. I love that we are all called to be a part of it– even if that means we all have different pieces of the puzzle to play.

    And I do think that oftentimes our American society has the puzzle piece of finances to play, since we were chosen, for whatever reason, to be born into this wealthy nation. I am seeing here in Thailand that locals are so good at missions within their own countries, and so often our Western sacrifice needs to be in the giving radically, financially, or in doing the fundraising/awareness for the ministry or even in the training of Nationals. At least, that is where I am seeing that we are being most used here in Asia.

    Thanks for this fantastic spotlight on God’s heart, which perhaps often gets missed.

    • i am all about equipping indigenous leaders to reach their own communities… by far, the most effective way to reach a people group.

      so love what you are doing and the heart you do it with, laura. thank you.

  11. I loved reading and being reminded of this. It makes me want to live even more in a way that reflects God and that will make a difference in the lives of those around me, whether through words or actions. Thanks, Alece, for this post.

  12. Amen! I hear your heart in this, Alece.

    For me, the challenge is to remember that my mission field is right where I’m at, that very person next to me on the bus or on the street…. Sometimes I think it’s easier to want to travel to somewhere else, when really what He’s maybe saying is to go to the person across the street. The dangerous prayer (to me) is, “Lord, change me. Help me to see them as You see them.” And really, not just see, but then be His heart and His hands.

    • i would always tell mission teams on their last night with us to remember that their mission field is right between their own two feet. it’s often hardest to remember that and live that out when we get caught up in the busy “doings” of our day-to-day lives. but… possibly… that’s when it matters most.

      love you, lisa.

  13. Pingback: Round’up « Boo: Compelled to Love

  14. There has been so much said in the comments already, but I just wanted to comment on how beautifully this is laid out. I think it’s important to note that missions don’t have to be abroad. For some people, especially parents of younger kids and those with health problems, it’s just not possible to travel. But the mission of the Bible is to share the word of God. That can be done in your own neighborhood.

    • Ivy ~ You are so right! And yes, Alece did a beautiful job laying this out. I am so thankful she wrote this! And yes, anyone can share the word of God no matter where they are at. They don’t have to travel overseas to do it! That is one thing I am doing my best to grasp in this season of my life. Thank you for your comment!

  15. Thank you!

    It is so easy to focus on, say, the blessings of Abraham or all the other “successes” of the stories you’ve provided and completely miss the point as to why these individuals were blessed…so the world can see God, not how blessed we are.

  16. What a great reminder! The name of the church where I serve is “Church For All Nations”. Whether our neighbor next door, or on the other side of the world, His Church is called to ALL nations and you’ve captured that purpose so well.


  17. Pingback: missions is God’s heartbeat : Grit and Glory

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